Reconstruction of State Street Plan

bigeman312

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Missed opportunity. It should be completely pedestrianized, with a proper plaza built in front of the Old State House.
I like the general idea of pedestrianization, but State Street is the last street in the area that should be pedestrianized, literally.

State Street is the only access (either in or out for all or parts of) the following streets by automobile:
  • Kilby St
  • Marchants Row
  • Chatham St
  • Butler Square
  • Chatham Row
  • Commercial St
  • Broad St
  • India St
  • McKinley Square
I'm not saying we need to preserve automobile access everywhere, but pedestrianization of State Street isn't as simple as, say, Newbury, where you aren't cutting off access to a bunch of other streets' only inlet or outlet.

An example of a stretch of street in that neighborhood that can/should be pedestrianized without further ramifications is Milk and Washington between Hawley and School.
 

real_EthanHunt

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Also heard State St is now only one lane. It was too wide before, but one lane does not sound like enough.
there were never lane lines painted before so it didnt really operate as 2 lanes in most places. The parking/loading now alternates sides so its a much straighter alignment for vehicles. the only place where capacity is really reduced is at Broad St. hasnt been an issue with less peds (and vehicles) but pre covid that left turn could took awhile since there are so many peds that have the right of way. small prices to pay for MUCH better ped and bike experience.
 

HenryAlan

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That's the 'interim' condition built with paint and temporary materials; the plan is still to completely rebuild the street with new curbs and wider sidewalks sometime in the next 1-2 years.

Even as an interim configuration, it is such a pleasure to ride on now, compared to before. What's interesting to me is how short the entire street is. I never really noticed that before, because I would be so focused on not getting killed. Now it's just a quick and low stress path connecting other routes. The ideas for the final configuration look fantastic!
 

BronsonShore

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I like the general idea of pedestrianization, but State Street is the last street in the area that should be pedestrianized, literally.

State Street is the only access (either in or out for all or parts of) the following streets by automobile:
  • Kilby St
  • Marchants Row
  • Chatham St
  • Butler Square
  • Chatham Row
  • Commercial St
  • Broad St
  • India St
  • McKinley Square
I'm not saying we need to preserve automobile access everywhere, but pedestrianization of State Street isn't as simple as, say, Newbury, where you aren't cutting off access to a bunch of other streets' only inlet or outlet.

An example of a stretch of street in that neighborhood that can/should be pedestrianized without further ramifications is Milk and Washington between Hawley and School.
Chatham St, Chatham Row, Butler Square, Merchants Row, Commercial Street, and McKinley Square already effectively function as woonerfs. Each of these streets sees virtually no passenger thru-traffic, are used almost exclusively by delivery trucks, and, throughout the course of the day, their pavement is likely touched by far more shoes than tires. It would not cause any problems whatsoever to officially pedestrianize these streets, perhaps leaving them open for deliveries at certain times of the day a la Downtown Crossing (In fact, McKinley and Commercial Street have already been closed to thru-traffic: Commercial has been entirely turned over to restaurant seating during COVID, and McKinley is closed to unauthorized vehicles).

So we're really only talking about three streets that are important for vehicular traffic flow: Kilby, Broad, and India. And, contrary to what you write above, it's not remotely true that State Street is the only access point for these streets. Coming from the south-southeast, Kilby intersects with four other streets before it hits State. India intersects with with five. And Broad interects with a whopping eight. The only thing that pedestrianizing State Street would do to these streets is a create a dead end that would impact just a single block. But even that is easy to mitigate, as the final blocks of these streets could easily be converted into two-ways to facilitate drop-offs and deliveries (Broad already is two-way). The impact on traffic flow would be negligible.
 
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Charlie_mta

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The only thing that pedestrianizing State Street would do to these streets is a create a dead end that would impact just a single block. But even that is easy to mitigate, as the final blocks of these streets could easily be converted into two-ways to facilitate drop-offs and deliveries (Broad already is two-way). The impact on traffic flow would be negligible.
Good idea, but wouldn't this arrangement require T-shaped turnaround areas on State Street itself at the stub end of each adjoining 2-way street?
 

millerm277

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I'm generally of the opinion that the inverse makes more sense.

Keep State open 1 lane long-term, chop up the side streets in a way to intentionally make them useless for any sort of thru trip, with access only coming from their closest major street (State, Pearl/Congress, Atlantic), rather than dead-ending at State and being accessed from the south.

From a quick glance, I'd start with chopping India @ Central, Broad @ Water, Kilby @ Hawes. Reverse India from Central to Milk and reverse Exchange Pl. Long-term, push that philosophy further south down to Milk, possibly down to/near Franklin.

I don't even think you really need to do much other than remove all public street parking and make them useless to thru traffic to basically pedestrianize the sidestreets. (put up some "shared streets" signage) You don't need to come up with complicated rules for who can be there and when if the roads don't get you anywhere and you can't park there, the problem solves itself. Commercial loading zones only.

That also neatly sidesteps the issue of the 60 State (accessed from Chatham/Merchants Row) and 75 State (accessed from Broad) garages becoming inaccessible or overly convoluted.
 

BronsonShore

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Good idea, but wouldn't this arrangement require T-shaped turnaround areas on State Street itself at the stub end of each adjoining 2-way street?
I honestly don't even think that's even necessary. It's ok to make things just a little bit harder for cars for sometimes--especially in this case, where (1) every building on these dead-end blocks would still have frontage on another street, and (2) State could still be open for authorized vehicles at designated hours. There are examples all over the world of streets that run up against pedestrian zones and simply dead-end; the cars just have to deal with it.


It happens in London (and, no, that's not a vehicular egress on the right there, it leads to a loading dock)
Screen Shot 2021-09-16 at 3.58.07 PM.png


Copenhagen:
Screen Shot 2021-09-16 at 3.53.25 PM.png


Quebec:
Screen Shot 2021-09-16 at 4.18.47 PM.png


Hell, even Miami can do it:
Screen Shot 2021-09-16 at 4.11.28 PM.png
 

BronsonShore

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I don't even think you really need to do much other than remove all public street parking and make them useless to thru traffic to basically pedestrianize the sidestreets. (put up some "shared streets" signage) You don't need to come up with complicated rules for who can be there and when if the roads don't get you anywhere and you can't park there, the problem solves itself. Commercial loading zones only.
This could work, but you don't want to just stop at merely preventing thru-traffic. State could be a broad, landscaped pedestrian zone filled with cafe tables, art installations and bench seating. It could be our version of the Stroget. Doing it only halfway is how you end up with a hermaphroditic pedestrian zone that isn't used to its fullest potential, e.g. Washington in Downtown Crossing
 

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